Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Adieu To 2008... Moving Forward To 2009!

I had to laugh when I read this post that Amy linked to. Apparently I'm not the only one who is reading through the Bible "in a year." One of my friends was pretty surprised I had never read through the Bible, so I suppose I should qualify that with the fact I've never read it straight from Genesis to Revelation. After spending years in Bible Institute (where the main textbook is the Bible - who would have thought?!?), I know I've read the Bible through. My Old and New Testament classes come to mind, especially having to give a chapter heading for each chapter of each book in the Old Testament. :)

But even still, in my personal devotions I've always wanted to read the Bible the whole way through. Every January I would start off in Genesis - never mind the fact that by the time December rolled around I was only in Isaiah or Jeremiah.

So January of 2007 I decided to (once again!) read through the Bible and started off in Genesis, like I usually do. Only this time, I continued on in January of 2008! Now as we approach January of 2009, I am happy to report that I am in the book of Acts - chapter 14. My goal is to be finished by April. :)

It has always been easy for me to get caught up on one or two verses and spend a big chunk of time on them. It's been said before: "it's a marathon, not a sprint!" and I'm applying that to my Bible reading:). There are too many gems and diamonds in the Word of God, and I don't want to miss them!

A new year is always a time of goal-setting and resolutions. My pastor preached an amazing message on Sunday night (Monday morning my time - thank you internet!). I've probably heard this message a half dozen times over the course of 11 years, and yet this is the first time I'm actually applying it. He calls it "year-end inventory." Since I didn't really set any goals for this year outside of this missions trip to Thailand, I really don't have anything to inventory from this last year. But this new year - what an opportunity!

Here in Thailand, it's already New Year's Eve. I'm really excited about 2009 and all that the Lord is going to do!

Happy New Year!!!

A Little Help Please.

I could use a little help. Seriously. I feel like I'm being eaten alive by mosquitoes. (Hello, cool season!)

So in an all-out effort to ditch the itch, I am turning to you guys. What do you do to prevent bites or scratching?

Garlic???

Onion???

Spray???

Something has to give. And I'm trying to forget the fact that mosquitoes carry dengue fever.

Soooo, any ideas?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Neighbors? They're In Stitches:).

This certainly has been the week for goof-ups! It all started on Monday night when Pookie suggested a motorcycle ride. Carolyn and I quickly agreed and soon she was wheeling the motorcycle out onto the street. As we prepared to jump on, I noticed that the shopkeeper across the street seemed to have an abundance of people hanging out with him outside - all the more to laugh at us! Pookie started the motorcycle which immediately caught their attention. But what kept their attention on us was the fact that Carolyn and I hopped on behind her. The chuckles were loud as poor Carolyn (who is rather tall) folded herself onto the motorcycle while my feet were swinging rather freely:). I'm sure we were quite the sight!

On Tuesday afternoon I was cleaning my turtle's tank when Sharon walked by with the Lange children. After exchanging a few pleasantries, Jon asked me, "So, Anne, where is your turtle?" I glanced up from cleaning the turtle tank and said, "Jon, he's right..... oh no!!!! Where did he go?" Here, my rather determined turtle decided he would rather be smashed to smithereens than kept alive in the tank, so he took off running for the street. Again, the neighbors were completely amused by our shouts and rightly so. My turtle dashed for the street (and believe me, turtles dash!), Sharon stopped traffic, I tried to run out the gate after the turtle, realized the gate was locked, and quick darted out the Gaudets' gate, all the while my turtle is running for the road. The poor driver of the truck was looking so confused at what the farangs were doing. I'm glad to say I reached the turtle before the wheels did!

The next amusing moment came on Christmas Day....and it involves that little rodent that is pictured in the post below. As I already mentioned, our door was wide open so when I went out to check on the grill, I was pretty surprised by the sight of the rat just sitting there. Of course I did what most girls do and started to shriek:). This time the shopkeepers across the street and the food vendors down the street all looked our direction with much curiosity. Thankfully the rat had more sense than we did and ran off for the sewer!

I suppose today's escapade wasn't really seen by the neighbors, but I'm throwing it in there for good measure. Carolyn and I were sitting in the living room chatting when we suddenly heard a loud popping sound. As we looked around, Carolyn said, "something must have backfired." I looked at her incredulously and said, "from our kitchen?" We ran to the kitchen and smelled the worst burning smell. Here Carolyn had some eggs in a pot boiling....and, well, boil they did! The popping sound was three eggs exploding in the kitchen, leaving behind a rather charred pot with egg whites and yolks decorating our floor and wall. We took the burnt pot outside where I believe it is still residing. Who knows, maybe the rat will eat it:).

They say laughter is the best medicine, so our neighbors must be pretty healthy:).

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Some Pictures.

I've decided to share a few pictures from the past couple of weeks.... Christmas-time in the tropics!

These cookies were absolutely scrumptious! Now don't laugh, but they were bought at the hospital:). Bumrungrad Hospital is apparently a shopping center/resort/hospital all rolled into one. We're going tomorrow morning (Krinny and Carolyn have appointments) so I'll get my first glimpse of the inside... and hopefully get another cookie:).

Those would be fried grasshoppers.... I wasn't here when this was brought out; someone else had my camera:).

My sweet Thai co-worker Bunga and her 10 month daughter Hadasseh (her nickname is Hannah).

These two little girlies are definitely a must for my auntie heart! I'm so thankful that there are kiddos here that I can love on since I'm so far away from 8 (soon to be 9) precious nephews and nieces!

This morning the door bell rang and we were pleasantly surprised with a sheet cake... mmm, mmm!

Of course Christmas in the tropics wouldn't be complete without a visitor... in the form of a rat. The funny thing is we had our door wide open and as I went to check on the grill, this guy was just sitting there. Both Pookie and I shrieked, slammed the door, opened it to take a picture and he still just sat there. I'm glad we got that scare out of the way early in the day:).

Pookie grilling the shrimp and steaks...

What a blessing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with brothers and sisters in Christ!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Quiet Christmas.

The Christmas tree lights are shining brightly while the banister lights are twinkling their little hearts out. The street has turned to its nighttime routine, with motorcycles whizzing by and food vendors shutting down for the day. The fan is quietly blowing as a movie plays in the background. I sit here on this Christmas Eve thoroughly enjoying the moment. My December has been very care-free, and I thank the Lord for this Christmas I get to spend in Thailand.

Lest I be construed as a kill-joy, I definitely am not. Let's just say I needed this. I tend to get caught up in all the "hustle and bustle" of Christmas at home. But it's been very refreshing to have no plans for this entire month; well, no plans outside of the normal plans:). Our plans for tomorrow are very simple ~ a picnic-style lunch with our team members.

But the most important plan I have for tomorrow is to reflect on the birth of Christ - my precious Lord and Saviour. I know He was not born on December 25th, but this is the day we set aside to celebrate His birth. My mom used to make a "Happy Birthday Jesus" cake and that is the true meaning for tomorrow.

So I wish all of my dear blog readers a hearty and merry Christmas. Wherever you may find yourself tomorrow, be reminded that the birth of Christ truly is the reason for the season!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ah.... Life In Thailand!

Just thought I would pop in and say that I'm completely satisfied with my $6.00/1 hour foot massage I had this afternoon.

*Blissful sigh*

:)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

WFMW - Chocolate-Covered Pretzels.

I had to laugh when I read Shannon's ground-breaking information.... such a good tip:). Make sure you check out Rocks In My Dryer for more tips!

I'm going to add my own little works-for-me tip because it's so fresh on my mind... and on my hands! I decided to make chocolate-covered pretzels tonight - my first time ever. So I wasn't exactly up-to-date as to how to do it, and the first little try of melting chocolate in the microwave brought about a little, um, smoky smell that soon cleared out of the house:). But I soon got the hang of it. One reason why is because I added milk to the chocolate that was melting and it turned out marvellously!

A second tip I have involves pulling the chocolate-covered pretzel out of the pot. My roommate brought with her "cheater chopsticks" ... which is good for me because I still haven't figured out how to use real chopsticks. It worked so well and was terribly easy:).

Pretzel anyone?!?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Thai Style!

My roommates and I decorated for Christmas last Tuesday evening (almost a week ago!), but I wanted to wait until today to join up with BooMama's Christmas tour of homes 2008. I'm completely amazed that I practiced that much restraint. Actually I'm practicing restraint in another area right now. I received a big ole Priority Mail box this afternoon from my parents (THANK YOU Mom & Dad!) and I haven't opened it yet... impressive, I know:). But that's because I wanted to get this post up.... :).

We were very blessed to have all sorts of decorations already here at the house - left over from previous girls who came to work with the missionaries. So, using what we had, we managed to decorate our house in two hours! I've never been able to do that before:).

Anyway, welcome to my humble home in Thailand. Come in, make yourself at home, and kick your flip flops off at the door....:)





Our very cute (and artificial!) Christmas tree:)





Oh hello there... just a friendly little lizard paying us a visit!

The wreath on our screen door... even if the weather outside is in the 80s, we're enjoying the snowflakes on our wreath.



Our dish cupboard with garland and one lone Christmas card... we're hoping to fill up the entire top with cards:).



An overview of our downstairs.... we even found an appropriate tablecloth:).

While not the best picture, this certainly lights up our evenings. I guess it's nostalgia, but I love to sit in the living room and just look at the lights:).

The birth of Christ isn't celebrated by many in Thailand...of course the commercial aspect of it all is. Just one more reminder to me as to why I am on the mission field!

Well, I'm off to go help decorate the missionaries' house:).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Emptied.

During the song service this evening, we sang the song "Channels Only." The third verse convicted me as I meditated on the words:

Emptied that Thou shouldest fill me,
A clean vessel in Thy hand;
With no power but as Thou givest
Graciously with each command.

Chorus: Channels only, blessed Master,
But with all Thy wondrous power
Flowing through us,
Thou canst use us
Every day and every hour.

The challenge in the verse was so clear: emptied that Thou shouldest fill me. Empty of what? Pride. Dreams. Self-preservation. Bitterness. Selfishness. Vain pursuits. Laziness. Hopes. Anger. Expectations. The list goes on and on.

I can never be filled until I am first emptied. It's like Elisha and the widow woman. He told her to borrow empty vessels (2 Kings 4:3) so he could fill them with oil. What would have happened if the widow woman brought full vessels? Talk about unusable.

And so the challenge resounds in my heart tonight. Before He can flow through me and use me every day and every hour, I must first be empty.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Desperate For Chocolate:).

You know you are desperate for Peanut M&Ms when you pay $1.40 for a little bag that should only cost $.50 in the States:o). But, boy, those 28 pieces of chocolate were good!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hello Bumrungrad Hospital.

We're scattered today (and maybe scatter-brained too!).

Krinny - hospital.

Tom - hospital.

Carolyn - hospital.

Pookie - hospital.

Me - work.

All is well on our little team:). HA!

Falling On A Walk.

I try to go walking every morning with Theresa Lange, the missionary's wife. It seems to me that 5:45 AM comes around a little too early, but I dutifully stumble out of my darkened room and try to look presentable in meeting the morning. One friend called it discipline; I laughed and told her it was accountability:). Given the choice, my bed (and sleep!) would win out every time, but I find that the day gets too warm so 6 AM really is the ideal time to go walking. Plus it's a great way to spend some time with Theresa:).

This morning Theresa's son, Jon, came along with us. He's come before, but normally uses his little scooter. This time the scooter was deemed unusable - it kinda helps to be able to turn it! - so Jon walked instead. We tend to walk a little fast, so Jon had to do this skip/hop/jog thing to keep up... personally I think he was enjoying having all those options:).

As we neared the development, Jon suddenly fell flat down. After checking for blood (nothing!) and bruises (none!), Jon bounced back up and we continued on. Later in the walk it happened again, and as Theresa helped him up, she was explaining why he needs to watch where he was going. Whether she knowingly did it or not, she managed to work a spiritual principle into the conversation:

"We need to watch out for the rough spots and take heed lest we fall."

Because I just had the concept visually demonstrated in front of me, I had a pretty good idea what 1 Corinthians 10:12 was talking about. Jon falling down brought tears both times. He was so sure that he had really hurt himself, and sniffled his way down the road with us.

I thought about how I fall in my spiritual walk; how I miss the rough spots for a myriad of reasons. When I fall, I sometimes wonder how it happened. The Lord tenderly picks me back up, encourages me with His Word, and reminds me to "take heed" and learn from the fall.

I'm so glad I got up for a walk this morning... sometimes the Lord uses everyday occurrences to teach me!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Random Pictures.

This dog is my favorite dog on our street (and believe me, there are plenty around here!). He is just too cute, and I'm not even a big animal fan! I noticed his "coat" tonight and had to laugh - go Eagles! Oh, the reason the picture is off-centered is because the little dude kept moving... imagine that:). One more thing - it's a balmy 75 degrees here. Yup, that's definitely coat weather:).

Some of the current team members... we were having a good time, as evidenced by the smiles on our faces:).

(Me, Pookie, Alex, and Berm)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Big Brothers.

Nina and her family have been having some work done on their house by none other then my brothers! She's been very sweet in e-mailing me pictures of them. Apparently I'm the family photographer and since I'm in Thailand, that has kinda hampered me from taking pictures... strange, I know! So it's been really nice to see my brothers through pictures:).

My brothers Tom and Phil

Carolyn and I had just been talking on Monday night about Philly cheese steaks, hoagies, and stuff like that. So when I saw the above picture, I started laughing because (unless I miss my guess) it looks like Tom is about to enjoy a meatball sandwich.... mmm,mmm!

Monday was Phil's 28th birthday, so Nina made the cake and, according to Nina, their boss (affectionately known as "Mr. N") did "Happy Birthday" Polish-style! They look like they're having a great time:).

So even though I am not home, I still had a glimpse of home.... thanks Nina!!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Honesty Of Kids.

The honesty of children is so refreshing, and at times very funny!

The other evening I went over to the Langes' house to borrow a movie. Both Jeff and Theresa were busy at the moment, so I spent a couple of minutes playing with their son. As we were playing, I asked Theresa if I could borrow "Over The Hedge." Jon instantly dropped the ball and said, "No!" He then backpedaled and said, "Well, I mean you can watch it here, but I really don't want you to take it home." Apparently he and the movie were really good buddies, but eventually Mom and Dad won and I had the movie in hand.

Just before I left, I turned to Jon and said, "Thanks, Jon, for being so willing and letting me borrow the movie." As he touched the DVD case, he looked me straight in the eye and said, "But I'm not willing." At that point, Sharon and I lost it and had a really good laugh over that:). What was really funny was the next morning when we were walking, Jon was telling me about this book he had on veterinarians and said, "You can borrow that if you want to." Oh wow, thanks:).

Later I got to thinking about the incident and realized that while I might have thought that in my mind ("hey! I'm not willing!"), I would have never said it. Jon just blurted it out, but at least he was honest. In my opinion, it's worse to think it in my mind and yet be all "showy" on the outside and pretend everything is alright when it's not.

Just for the record, I returned the movie to the owner the next morning...and I got to read the veterinarian book! All is right in my world:).

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Wonders Of Future Park.

One of the "drawbacks" [I use this term very carefully, just to let you know:)] to being in a foreign country is that we sometimes go from the house to the office to the house to church to the house to the office --- well, you get the point! For the past two weeks, Carolyn and I have felt the need to "get out" and that finally happened today! We went with a third lady who is visiting from the states and spent 5 1/2 hours at the mall known as Future Park. FP has 5 levels and I can honestly say there are stores that I have never been in before, so today we just strolled through all the levels and discovered some pretty exciting stores!

Right in the center of Future is this wide open space that is used for, well, everything. We've seen carnivals, cake displays, dances, concerts, and workshops take place here. So it really wasn't any surprise to see the center of Future being used today. What did surprise me was the amount of people that showed up to see their little kids perform.


When I took this picture, we were on level 3. By the time we got to level 5, the crowd had doubled! I kid you not! I have never seen that many people stationed in one part of the mall:).

Since most of the people were gathered here, that made shopping at the grocery store so easy! We had a great time at the mall and just enjoyed spending time with one another. Now I'm just waiting for the block party outside my house to die down (it's 10 PM now) so that I can go to bed. Apparently the people here are celebrating Christmas a little early since most people return to the provinces in the north for the actual Christmas/New Year's time.

Ah yes, my very own rock concert right outside my house. Pass the earplugs please:).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Yankee Candle Coupon.

I received a coupon in my e-mail the other day I thought I would share with you all...


If you like Yankee Candles, then you'll want to use this coupon... it's only good until December 7th, so you better act quick! If you are using the coupon online, enter the code YCFF08.

I sure hope this is a blessing to someone:).

Crystal is hosting Frugal Friday so head on over to her blog to see some more great (frugal!) tips and ideas:).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

May We....May God.

"As we have a high old time this Christmas, may we who know Christ hear the cry of the damned as they hurtle headlong into the Christless night without ever a chance. May we be moved with compassion as our Lord was. May we shed tears of repentance for these we have failed to bring out of darkness. Beyond the smiling scenes of Bethlehem may we see the crushing agony of Golgotha. May God give us a new vision of His will concerning the lost and our responsibility."


~Nate Saint~


(Excerpt taken from "Through Gates of Splendor" and written on December 18, 1955, just weeks before he was killed taking the Gospel to the Aucas Indians)

WFMW - Cleaning Supplies.

My Works-For-Me tip isn't earth-shattering, but it really did work for me today! When I came home from the office, I decided to clean our two bathrooms. I'm so glad we put the needed cleaning supplies in each bathroom so I didn't have tote a bunch of bottles around with me! It was so easy to go in and clean and not drag the stuff up and down the stairs with me!

So there you have it! A quick, easy, workable tip:).

But don't come to me if you want tips on keeping turtles alive.... I'm not the "go-to" person for that, as evidenced by the lack of one turtle in the aquarium this morning!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wink;).


Venus, Jupiter and the moon winked at me Monday night in Thailand.... I love when the Lord does stuff like that and moves planets and stars into place!

But I'm sorry for you folks in the States:

Unfortunately, because North Americans are on the other side of the equator, they'll view the phenomenon upside down — as a mono-browed frown over a pair of eyes.


It was still pretty neat to see!

Happy December 1st!

Nothing says "welcome to December!" like taking a walk at sunset and then buying some fresh watermelon on the way back!


Mmmm, mmmm!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Waiting - Now There's A Concept!

The fact that this article is newsworthy is a little depressing to me:

Couple Waits Till Marriage For First Kiss


Won't kiss on the first date? How about waiting until marriage?

Chicagoans Melody LaLuz, 28, and Claudaniel Fabien, 30, shared their first kiss Saturday at the altar. The two teach abstinence at the city's public schools and practiced what they preached to their teenage students.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the couple had never kissed and that they had never been alone together in a house.


For the record, I'm waiting until the wedding altar for my first kiss too. Should I expect Fox News to report that little fact? :)

Kudos to this couple for taking a stand for what is right... even if it isn't popular! In a day and age when young people are allowed - and encouraged - to give in to what feels good, I'm glad that two someones care enough to teach kids about a forgotten option - abstinence.

It's just so sad that doing the right thing is seldom chosen and when it is, it becomes worthy of news.

*Sigh*

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Are You Thankful? If So, Please Share!

My church supports a missionary and his family in Indonesia and he recently sent out an e-mail update. Now whenever this missionary updates, I always laugh because they have such a practical view on life! Living in Indonesia means you're going to have some unique and unusual experiences. After reading this e-mail, I came to one of the closing paragraphs and thought it was too good not to share:


We hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims were so thankful with so little. May we too be content and thankful for all that God has given us. If your roof doesn’t leak, you are doing better than at least 90% of the people here. If you can read and write, you are doing better than a great many people in the world. If you don’t have wild frogs seeking refuge in your house consider yourself blessed! If your doctor can read an x-ray, be thankful. If God has forgiven your sins, praise Him.



How's your perspective on life today? If life is good for you (and after reading that last paragraph, I'm fairly certain we all can say life is good!) do me a favor and tell me one think for which you are thankful. I'm thankful today for the nice, cool, breezy weather we're having!

Your turn!

:)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blessed Thanksgiving!

Our Thanksgiving meal was cooked by several ladies (and one man!) from both of the teams here and 13 of us gathered together - some Thai, mostly American - to celebrate this Thanksgiving Day. Our scrumptious dinner was made complete with all the fixings: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn casserole, broccoli and cauliflower, stuffing, CRANBERRY SAUCE (my absolute favorite!), chicken wings, roast, apple crisp, and some pumpkin pie. Mmmm, mmmm! An all-American meal with no rice or stir-fry for a day:).

(Gracie and I)

But the best part of the day (aside from eating a roast that *almost* tasted like turkey!) was when we had our normal mid-week service and all 13 of us, right down to Gracie, lifted our voices and sang praises to the Lord! I think I just came up with a wonderful, new tradition for Thanksgiving Day... setting aside a part of the day to have singing, testimonies, and preaching. It sure made my day and that's what Thanksgiving Day is really all about.

Blessed Thanksgiving to my blog readers!

(And to my dear Mom - enjoy your quiet dinner with Dad!)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WFMW - You Tube.

One evening I was watching a friend's video on YouTube when it hit me that I could actually watch other videos on this internet video place! I know, I know, that's a little behind on my part but just imagine my excitement and joy when I was reconnected with my favorite tv series from when I was growing up - Little House on the Prairie!

I was also able to watch (most of) one of my favorite musicals as well as see the video that was viewed over 13 million times! I've listened to music, watched babies laughing over paper being ripped, and my roommate's favorite - Charlie bit my finger:).

Yes, YouTube definitely works for me:). For more "wfm" links, go check them out at Rocks In My Dryer!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

And The Drama Rolls On....

A political drama has been going on here in Thailand pretty much since I came 3 months ago. There's been daily fighting with a couple of people being killed and many more being injured. Pretty much the protesters have taken over the Government House in downtown Bangkok, so the government "relocated" to the old international airport, about 15 minutes from my house. Well in reading the news this afternoon, this headline caught my attention:

Thai government refuses to disclose its location

If it wasn't so serious, it would be comical! This is the ultimate high of that childhood game of hide-and-seek. "Where did the government go???" and "Come and find me!" normally aren't the things you hear about when talking about a country!

Updated to add:

I just read the news for this morning and apparently protesters swarmed the main international airport yesterday, causing delays.



To quote the article, "Suvarnabhumi [the international airport] is the world's 18th largest airport in passenger traffic, handling over 40 million passengers in 2007." Thankfully the big group of 20 people we had here last week flew out early Saturday morning and made it safely back to the states. Praise the Lord!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blonde moment!

Said by yours truly today:

"Well, the outside doesn't have any air conditioner."


Ummm, yeah.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yoga Deemed Inappropriate In Malaysia.

I found an interesting article about yoga today and thought it was very telling. The headline shouted the news:

Islamic Leaders in Malaysia Ban Yoga for Muslims

The article goes on to say this:

"Malaysia's top Islamic body on Saturday banned Muslims from practicing yoga, saying the Indian physical exercise contains elements of Hinduism and could corrupt Muslims."


Farther into the article is another very telling paragraph:


"We are of the view that yoga, which originates from Hinduism, combines physical exercise, religious elements, chanting and worshipping for the purpose of achieving inner peace and ultimately to be one with god," he said. "It is inappropriate. It can destroy the faith of a Muslim," he said."


Tell me again why a Christian would think this is "appropriate" to be involved in? That doesn't make sense at all, and yet, I know Christians who think it is "OK" to be involved in yoga. Feel free to share your thoughts.

Some More Cultural Experiences.

In my sleepy state of awakefulness this morning, I grinned to myself as I thought about what was going on outside and just tried to imagine that happening on the very busy street outside my house in PA.

A man was slowly driving down our soi (street) while speaking very loudly into a microphone, trying to convince the neighborhood to come out and buy his guava, oranges, and whatnot. The nice thing for me (*snicker*) is that he turned around and came back down the soi all the while talking into the microphone so I got to hear it twice.

I'm not sure what time it was, but I heard these vendors do it as early as 7 AM. Can you say "noise ordinance" if this was in the States? Such are the cultural experiences that make up our day to day happenings.

A big group of 20 people just left last night to return home to Fargo, ND. We hosted 5 girls in our house, and I had to laugh when one of the girls couldn't fall asleep one night because she thought she heard a gecko and didn't want it falling on her. In the 6 months I've spent in Thailand, only once have I had a gecko fall on me and that's because it was resting above the kitchen door. The thing about geckos is they're even more afraid of me:).

Another cultural experience I'm thinking about is in regards to this Thursday - Thanksgiving Day. Nina, a missionary's wife in Portugal, mentioned her kids are going to be in school that day. Most times, American holidays mean absolutely nothing overseas. We're "celebrating" Thanksgiving with a potluck on Thursday evening. We have our mid-week service at the Langes on Thursday so it's not going to be anything out of the ordinary, although I'm sure we'll plan our potluck dishes better than we normally do. However, there won't be any turkey at our potluck. It's just way too expensive here (I've heard prices from 2,000-4,000 baht = $56.00 - 112.00).

As we walked through the mall earlier this week, I noticed only a couple of stores that had Christmas displays set up. I'm sure if I asked y'all what it's like in stores in the USA, you would probably be disgusted by the materialism of Christmas and the decorations that have been around since September. Although it doesn't "feel" like it's that time of year again, I have been playing Christmas music (thank you abiding radio!).

But you know, I was thinking the other day I could have two responses to the Thai culture. One could be: why isn't this just like home? My second response can be: wow, I get to experience a new culture and do things differently!

Someone asked me this question this week: "what is the most enjoyable thing about being over there?" My answer wasn't earth-shattering but it was straight from my heart - that the Lord has allowed me the great privilege of just being here in Thailand and that I get to work with the Gaudets. That's why I can look around and smile at things like the fruit guy driving up and down the soi selling his fruit or at the school children who like to laugh and said "hello!!!" really loud and not know how to answer, "How are you?"

It's the cultural experiences I have from day to day that open my eyes and make me realize there's more to life than my little corner of the world. But one cultural experience I haven't had yet is eating bugs and grubs.

I think I'll pass!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Extra Christmas Card.

The other day Boo Mama linked to Big Mama about "a very easy - and meaningful - way to encourage families of deployed soldiers over the holidays." (That's a direct quote, y'all!)

So I moseyed over to Big Mama where I expected to find a Christmas Mama - I was promptly disappointed, but I did find "a very easy - and meaningful - way to encourage families of deployed soldiers over the holidays."

Rather than plagiarize (is that allowed in the bloggy world???) Big Mama, I think I'll just direct you to the very easy - and meaningful - way to encourage families of deployed soldiers over the holidays." (This is your cue now to go check out the link and see how you can bless an Army family this Christmas).

It's definitely worth the time, and who can't write out one extra Christmas card and stick it in the mail? I did, and it took me exactly 3 minutes. Plus I'm planning on sending the card back with one of the girls that's here with a group right now but is leaving Saturday morning.

Just imagine how you would feel if your family member was deployed for 15 months. To quote Big Mama:

These families will be without their spouses, mothers, fathers, brothers or sisters this Christmas season and I think this is such an incredible way to say thank you for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf. It’s a simple way to say we don’t take the sacrifice for granted.

What Love Means...

Sent to me in an e-mail from my uncle...


What Love means to 4-8 year old children
  • 'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.' Rebecca- age 8
  • 'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.' Billy - age 4 (Awwww!)
  • 'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.' Karl - age 5
  • 'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.' Chrissy - age 6 (I would have to agree!)
  • 'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.' Terri - age 4
  • 'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.' Danny - age 7
  • 'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss' Emily - age 8
  • 'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.' Bobby - age 7
  • 'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,' Nikka - age 6
  • 'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.' Noelle - age 7 (Love this one!!)
  • 'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.' Tommy - age 6
  • 'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.' Cindy - age 8
  • 'My mommy loves me more than anybody You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.' Clare - age 6
  • 'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.' Elaine-age 5
  • 'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.' Chris - age 7
  • 'Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.' Mary Ann - age 4
  • 'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.' Lauren - age 4
  • 'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image) Karen - age 7
  • 'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross.' Mark - age 6
  • 'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.' Jessica - age 8
  • And the final one: The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry.'

I wonder, what would you say love means?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Photo Cards For A Penny.

Since I live in Thailand, I was beginning to wonder about what to do for Christmas cards this year. I didn't want to do anything too fancy or expensive, but just as the great debate was about to shape up, that's when I got an e-mail from Snapfish:


Ta-da! Problem solved:).

The nitty-gritty details are this: You can order up to 20 photo cards for a penny each, but it must be done by November 23rd, you pay for the shipping, and you need to use the coupon code CARD08. Of course I got another e-mail from Snapfish saying that all shipping would be free on November 18th, but they only allow one coupon usage at a time, so I didn't quite hit the jackpot!

But still, I thought it was a great deal and I'm having the photo cards sent to my address in the states where hopefully my sweet mom will disperse them out to my family. The great thing about the card I chose is I could put four pictures on it. Since most of my family doesn't read my blog (hello! comment if you do, oh dear family members!), I'm assuming they don't see my week to week pictures and so it will be nice for them (I suppose) to see me:).

So, there you have it! That's what's working for me this week:).

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just Some Random Information!

Tori had this over at her blog, so I thought I would do it here too! Copy the list, highlight the ones you've done, post it on your blog, and let me know if you do:).

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang/played a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
(Top of the pedestal... as far as one can go!)
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort - with my kiddos
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping - in my unsaved days
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Made a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Friday, November 14, 2008

Step This Way For A Faith-Based Program!

Because I (1) have a sense of humor and (2) used to proofread the church bulletin every week for the main secretary, I got a kick out of this announcement in the church bulletin that was sent to me in an e-mail:


Friday

— Reformers Unanimous 7:00—9:00 pm

Guests are invited to attend our weekly Faith-Based Addiction Program!


Why yes, we want you to be addicted - just make sure it's faith-based!

Church bulletin bloopers 101:).

Little Pearls.

Amy has a well-written, practical post about how she and her husband managed to become debt-free. I especially liked this part:


Life is a string of ordinary moments. There are a bunch of them, and when you put them together, you have –forgive the allegory, I’m grasping today—a pearl necklace. One little pearl by itself isn't worth much, but collectively, they are.

That's quotable right there! She just started the series, so you're just in time to start from the beginning and catch up:).

Crossing THAT Off The List!

I suppose before I can cross something off my "won't ever cross my lips" list, I should have it on the list first!

The latest item that needs to be put on before it's taken off is an experience I had on Thursday afternoon. [But let me just insert this in and ask a question: am I the only one that makes up lists after I've completed the task and then crosses the items off at the end of a project??? Let me know!]

Anyway, for the past several days, one team member or another has been sick, so it wasn't exactly surprising that I began to feel queasy to my stomach on Wednesday afternoon. I came home from work and at Krinny's suggestion, I took a 2-hour nap and felt much better!

I thought that was the end of my stomach issues, but Thursday I started feeling yucky again. So I began to go through the possibilities and realized I had two options:
  1. I caught the stomach bug going around the team.
  2. I had a very good reason to take worm medicine.

Neither option was preferable, but the second one just begged to be noticed. You see, it's a foregone conclusion that living in Asia means I am susceptible to getting worms or parasites in my food. We take lots of precautions with food we buy and prepare at home, but the honest truth is I don't know if the food vendor down the street is as careful as I am!

The solution isn't to stop eating from the vendors on the street; rather, we take worm medicine every couple of months just to make sure we're on the up and up instead of the down and out:).

So that's what I did, but I still didn't feel like I was running at full speed. As I was sharing this with Carolyn (who has an upper respiratory infection herself), she said, "Well, I have some charcoal if you want to take some."

HUH?!?

After convincing me that the charcoal helps with killing any toxins and posions in the stomach, I agreed to take some but wimped out at preparing the glass for myself. Do y'all remember the green and purple ketchup they came out with several years ago? I heard it tasted just like ketchup, but since I already had a preconceived idea about purple and green ketchup (eww!), I never tried any. I wasn't about to let that happen with me preparing the charcoal for me to drink.

Carolyn, being the sweet lady she is, put it all together and handed me the glass (yes, my eyes were closed). Just as I took the first sip she told me it was best to get down as much as possible. Oh boy, let the fun begin! Down, down, down it went and I chose to ignore the little fact that it was in fact charcoal I was drinking.

Still being a wimp, I set the glass down without looking at it and expected instant results. Later I was telling Krinny about this and she said, "Oh yeah! Charcoal does....." and I was thinking, "what rock was I hiding under that I had no idea that this is normal to hear that someone just downed charcoal?"

But I suppose there's something to be said for it all - I feel much better today, which is good!

Now I have a problem - was it the charcoal or the worm medicine that cleaned it up? I'm not real anxious to go through that whole experience again too soon!

Ah, well, now I can say I drank charcoal... better go put that on the list to cross off:).

And of course I'm not going to tell you what else is on that "supposed" list because you know what they say about never saying never.... :D.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Flip Flops And Garbage Cans.

I did a true "Anne moment" today. One might say all of my moments are "Anne moments" and I suppose they might have a valid point, but it's normally the bizarre events that are classified under a true "Anne moment!"

But first, do y'all remember in Anne of Green Gables when Anne was so frustrated with Dolly (her cow) that after Anne chased Dolly out of her neighbor's cabbage patch she sold Dolly "on the spot" for $20? Later she discovered that she hadn't sold her cow, but her neighbor's cow and she wailed to Marilla, "Now what am I going to do?"

That, ahem, was my true "Anne moment." You see, on Saturday Carolyn and I cleaned the whole house and I do mean the whole house, right down to the dirty, icky, yucky half-closet under the stairs filled with rat droppings. Yes, it was disgusting! After pulling out all of the boxes and such, I found a pair of No Boundaries black flip flops in a box that looked strangely familiar. After looking at them for sometime, it dawned on me that I had brought the flip flops with me last summer! Excited over my "find" and always on the lookout for a bargain, I started wearing them (and just to clarify, no rat droppings were near them!).

My excitement was soon dampened as I remembered why I stopped wearing them last year. I'm sorry to say, but my Wal-Mart special NBs were nothing but painful as they dug into my feet. So with that little reminder, I decided to throw them away so I wouldn't come back in like 6 months and squeal over my "find" and go through the whole process again (and this is just a little tip for y'all: you can probably give me the same gift within a year and I'll be really excited over it!).

I never got around to throwing them away Saturday and the following days just flew by. In the meantime, a group of 5 girls joined us, and I must say the shoe pile was pretty phenomenal! As we got adjusted to having suitcases in our downstairs, I decided to quick straighten up the area this morning, and that includes putting shoes two by two (remember my OCD???) As I did that little task, I noticed I had a pair of flops in the pile and so I grabbed them to take upstairs. I also noticed the black flops and decided now was just as good of a time as any to dump them.

Satisfied that the horrid flip flops were in the trash, I walked away to the office knowing that they wouldn't *really* go to waste since the pre-trash lady would come through and pick out anything they consider "useful" before the trash man came along.

I came home for lunch and was contently sitting eating when my gaze began to take in the room. I'm pretty methodical and like things organized, even if chaos is going on. Organized chaos is much better than just normal, every day chaos:). As I noted the suitcases, the shoes, and the clean living room, my eyes fell upon the floor beneath the dish cabinet. Sitting there staring me back in the face were the Wal-Mart No Boundaries black flip flops!

Pookie was upstairs at the time and all she heard was me laugh and say, "oh no! OH NO!!!" I dashed out to the garbage can and my suspicions were confirmed: the can was empty, meaning the ever-faithful trash lady came along and snagged herself a deal.

Knowing full well I didn't toss my flops into the trash can, I came back inside and had that moment that hit Anne Shirley hit me. "What am I going to do?" Pookie, who was confused at first, just laughed but I knew that those 5 girls were coming back tomorrow and one of them would be missing some black flip flops!!!

I just stood there wringing my hands, because we all know *that's* what you do in an emergency situation like this! I started thinking of ways to explain that I purposely threw away someone else's shoes: "Hi girls! Glad you're back! Sooo, one of you is missing a pair of shoes, thanks to me." That didn't sound very sincere, and I was debating how to avoid seeing the girls for the next two weeks when suddenly inspiration hit me.

I went back to the trash can and looked though the second one, even though I was sure I threw them in the first one. There, sitting at the very bottom (under two bags of, ahem, trash) were the flops! As I grabbed them out, Pookie started laughing and saying, "the neighbor's laughing at you!"

Hey, at that point, I could care less what was going on behind my back! I placed the black flip flops back on the floor next to the rest of the shoes... and of course we all know that those flops were side by side!

I am happy to report that the Wal-Mart NBs are out of the house. As to whether they're still in the trash can or not, all I can say is I saw the trash lady looking through our cans today:).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Cambodia" Trip.

Pookie and I took off this morning to go to Cambodia to renew my visa for another three months. The funny thing is, we were at the office until 11 PM last night, so it made for a tired, early trip:). It's also a little misnamed since we spent the majority of our time in Thailand, but anyway!

We were going to Cambodia on a bus, so we met the visa people at a huge coffee shop in Bangkok... and let me just state that for once, I actually went willingly to a coffee shop! After we filled out the paper work, we were just sitting around, when I saw this and began to laugh:

Hate to state the obvious here....buuuut generally the area around a water fountain will be wet!


I also loved this sign - they offer "packate tour" and "wee provide tranning." English signs overseas amuse me:).


And that would be Cambodia! I was anticipating a smelly, trashy experience since that's what's been the general verdict from everyone returning from Cambodia, but apparently Pook and I got to go to a different part of the Cambodian border that wasn't smelly or trashy. It really didn't matter anyway, since we only spent 3 minutes in Cambodia... the bus people took care of getting all of our visas renewed.


This was on the Thailand side - somebody apparently did something commendable because he's got his own statue with a bunch of roosters outside of it!


My *one* experience in Cambodia is having children run up to me (like the kids pictured here) and say, "Madam? Madam? One baht, one baht!" Even though I told them "No" about 30 different times, they still didn't "get it" and kept asking. By the way, notice the roosters? Those were right outside the walk of the Col. Sanders statue.


Well, now I'm legal for another 3 months!

Monday, November 10, 2008

All Sorts Of Animals.

Note to self:

When leaving the doors to one's house wide open on a gorgeous November day, keep in mind that a cat might coming wandering in and scare the dickens out of you!

Also the scratching noise you keep hearing is NOT a lizard running around your house (thank you Krinny for that story!). Rather, those two turtles you are watching for the Langes apparently have some mighty long claws. Do not, I repeat, do not, have a panic attack.

Thank you, and have a nice day.


:)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Reeses PBC, I Love Thee!

The Langes have a group of 20 people here from their home church, so we've done a little rearranging to accommodate 5 extra girls in our house and this is the result:


The fun part for me was at 5:45 AM when I walked through our (then) dark downstairs and stubbed my toe on 4 different suitcases.... silly me! Duh!!!


But anything is bearable because these gals brought candy corn for Pookie annnnnnnnd...


REESES PEANUT BUTTER CUPS!!!!!

You wanna know how to get on my good side or need an idea for sending something in any future packages????

These will win me over.

Every.

Single.

Time!

Friday, November 7, 2008

A-B-C... That's Enough For Now!

Here's another list of blogs I read, but before I link them I figured I should make a little disclaimer (that I should've made at the beginning of doing this "series" or whatever I want to call it:D).

(Also, this is not aimed at these bloggers -think of it as a general statement.)

(I think I'm done with parentheses for now!)

As with anything I read on ye olde world wide webby, I might not necessarily agree with everything on anything I link, but it's everybody's prerogative to put anything on everybody's personal space - whatever anybody wants! (Did ya follow that?!?) So with that said (whew!), here's the beginning of the end... the start of the rest of the blogs I read. I've decided to only overwhelm you with the first three letters of the alphabet (I know, I'm so sweet!)

(Oh man, there's that whole parenthetical thing again!)

Abigail Charlotte's Web - I love reading her blog... she lives near the Big Apple and talks about it often enough to satisfy my desire of hopping in the car and going to the City - which would be a teeny-tiny problem now since I'm on the other side of the blue marble:).

Achoo! - I thought that was a pretty creative title for a blog. (I know this girl - in real life, I mean!)

(I'm choosing to move on from the fact I'm back on the (P) thing.)

Amy's Humble Musings - I'm athinkin' she's rather well-known around the bloggy world.

Bethany's blog - this girl takes some fantastic pictures! Bethany spent the summer in China on a 10-week missions trip which I found very interesting:).

Biblical Womanhood - another one of those sites that I'm sure many of you are familiar with already. I always appreciate Crystal's honesty and keeping-it-real attitude.

BooMama - has a great writing style with a Southern flair to it!

Coeur d' Court - Courtney's kids are absolutely adorable and do the funniest things! Seriously, they do:).

Courtney's Contemplations - Another Courtney! This Courtney *just* got married at the end of October and is a real gem!



That's all for now.... hope these ladies are as much of a blessing to you as some of them have been to me for (*gasp* should I admit it?!?) years!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Quote On Prayer.

"I have come to see that in past years I have wasted much time over praying that was not effecive prayer at all. Praying without faith is like trying to cut with a blunt knife --- much labour expended to little purpose. For the work accomplished by labour in prayer depens on our faith: 'According to your faith,' not labour, 'be it unto you.'

I have been impressed lately with the thought... that people fail in praying the prayer of faith because they do not believe that God has answered, but only that he will answer their petitions. They rise from their knees feeling that God will answer some time or other, but not that He has answered already. This is not the faith that makes payer effective. True faith glories in the present tense, and does not trouble itself about the future. God's promises are in the present tense, and are quite secure enought to set our hearts at rest.
Their full outworking is often in the future, butGod's word is as good as His bond and we need have no anxiety. Sometimes He gives at once what we ask, but more often He just gives His promise (Mark 11:24). Perhaps He is more glorified in this latter case, for it means that our faith is tried and strengthened."


James Fraiser - pioneer missionary to China

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Seeking Means To Bring Them In.

I can almost envision those men as they pushed their way through the crowd, carrying a bed between them. The man on the bed had long ago lost sensation and touch and lay paralyzed --- at times shaking uncontrollably. The room was jam packed with people and a huge crowd was gathered around the door.

It was rumored about that He was in the house. The men were jostled and shoved about, each person trying to get a good position - trying to see Him. "Hey, watch it!" an angry voice shouted as the crowd pressed in around the bed. The four men saw a small opening, but just as quickly as it appeared, it filled up. Desperately trying to get into the house, the men frantically looked for a way in.

Urgency crashed in as the men were pushed farther and farther from the house. Frantically they scrambled around, precariously balancing the bed between them. "We must get in," they murmured as "they sought means to bring him in" (Luke 5:18).

Suddenly one of the men triumphantly declared, "I've got it! Quick! Up to the roof!!!" The four men dashed around the house and up the stairs. Placing the bed down, they began to uncover the roof above where He was. Pushing aside timbers and plants, the four men picked up the bed and lowered their friend down "to lay him before HIM."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Luke 5:18 says, "And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him."

Just like those four men sought for a way to get the man on a bed to Jesus, so too must you and I be seeking means to bring them in. I'm sure going up to the roof was not the first option for those guys, but when they saw that the "traditional way" didn't work, they began to get creative and found a way to bring the man to the Master.

Today is election day in the United States of America. You can be guaranteed that even though I am living in Thailand, I am still praying for this election (and yes I DID vote!). Regardless of the outcome today, God will still be on the throne tomorrow. Our ultimate purpose is not to vote in a new president - because truly this world is not our home.

If you've participated in any "get the vote out" campaigns for the election, then I believe you are doubly responsible to seek means to bring them in - to Heaven and Eternity. Jesus IS coming back, and I believe it will be sooner rather than later. Just think about that verse and let it sink in today -

"And they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Murphy And I Are Still Friends.

November is a huge birthday month in my family. My brother Tom is on the 2nd. My sister Michelle is on the 8th. My mom is on the 17th. My sister Mary is on the 26th. Just for grins and giggles, my dad's birthday is on October 14th and my brother Phil's birthday is December 8th. I'm the only one with enough sense to be born after the holidays (February 1st for those who wish to know!).

Since I can't celebrate with my family in person, I figured I would sent each of them a card through the mail (although my frugal little heart really had to fight that one out... I mean, come on, the group just left and think of all the money I could save on postage by sending the cards back with them!!!) Nevertheless, I figured it might be nice to receive something through the mail besides bills and credit card offers. Plus most people haven't ever received anything from overseas and Thailand definitely counts as overseas.

So with the thought in mind that my sister's birthday is Saturday, I took Pookie up on the offer to go to Future Park - the five-story mall right down the road where we spend waaay too much time:). There were seven of us and we split into two groups: Pookie, Berm, and I in one group and the rest in the other group. Pookie headed off in the direction of her bank while Berm and I entered the post office.

[Insert elevator music here]

Mass chaos was taking place when we entered, so we figured we came to the right place!!! We joined the oh-so-long line, decided instead to grab one of those "take a number" cards, and then waited. The post office clerks were on #97 and we held #115 and 116 in our hands. Figuring that the "express" lane would go faster, we decided to put our cards back and stand in line.

I have lots of experience of "people watching" in the post office, and this time was no different - well there was the whole language thing, but besides that there was no difference! So I stood and waited and watched and waited and moved and waited and watched the number ticker climb higher and higher. I couldn't figure out the hold-up in the "express" lane, but I did notice that number ticker advance from 97 to 105. My line stayed the same and the ticker went to 106.

By the time it hit 113, I just started chuckling to myself. You see, I have a long relationship with Murphy and so it really shouldn't have been a huge surprise to me that Murphy followed me to the Thailand Post Office! As I inched my way to the front desk, I kept one eye on the ticker. It was still at 113, but there were two people in front of me. My smile got wider as the ticker went to the 114. One person to go!

Suddenly the lady in front of me stepped out of line and for once, for once (!), I thought I was going to beat good ole' Murphy.

And that's when the clerk decided to change the register receipt paper.

The ticker went to 115 (my original number) and the clerk very methodically changed the paper. Just as he shut the lid, the clicker went to 116.

And I just smiled, knowing that Murphy had found me yet again!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Experiencing The Manna For Today.

Going to church in a foreign country is always an experience. In South Africa it was in a dusty one-room tent. In the Czech Republic it was tucked down a maze of corridors in a back corner of a third-floor building in Prague. Another time in the Czech Republic was in the missionary's living room. Here in Thailand it's down a dead-end street in the midst of businesses and homes. Regardless of the structure on the outside, it's always a joy to worship with the believers on the inside.

In all the countries I've been in, there is always an interpreter - sometimes into English and sometimes into the native tongue. Most of the time here in Thailand, Berm (who happens to translate Baptist books in our office) will sit behind us farangs (foreigners) and quietly translate the service - from what song will be sung down to the last prayer. Today was a bit different since an Australian pastor preached. I always appreciate those services when I can understand the preacher for myself - and I filled up several pages with thoughts from the message!

The preacher preached from Exodus 16 - the story of God providing manna for the children of Israel. The message was so good and I wish y'all could hear it, but since you can't I'm just going to write down some of my notes. Go read Exodus 16:1-15 if you have time!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • God provided food (manna), but they had to get up to get the food.
  • Manna means, "what is this?" When the children of Israel saw "a small, round thing" (vs. 14) "they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was." (vs. 15). The manna wasn't what they were expecting.
  • God's provisions may very well be different from my perceptions. (Point #1)
  • I say: "What is this? This isn't what I wanted." but God says: "This is your bread. This will help you."
  • God sends His bread for me in a small, round thing. I say, "manna?" and God says, "your bread."
  • God wants me to put myself at His disposal.
  • In Numbers 13, the 10 spies saw the giants and the problems, but in Numbers 14 the 2 spies saw what God provided and said, "they [talking about the giants] are bread for us."
  • If you walk away from the problem, you walk away from the bread.
  • God's proportions that He gives will be according to my needs. (Point #2)
  • Regarding the manna, some gathered more and some gathered less... but they had no lack.
  • God provided that manna for 40 years and provided for every man's needs!
  • God gives me the portion that I need for this day; I don't need to worry about tomorrow.
  • God's plans are for this moment. (Point #3)
  • The manna fell each day except for the Sabbath, but He still provided the day before and kept the manna for the next day.
  • When some tried to "save" bread, it bred worms and stank.
  • Don't fight today's battles on yesterday's bread.
  • Don't worry about tomorrow - God will provide!!!!
  • Live in the present - yesterday's bread has worms in it and stinks!
  • God doesn't want a casual relationship based on yesterday's bread. God wants a fresh, daily, relationship today.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Of Broken Doors And Mexican Food.

The day started off innocently enough - at breakfast someone mentioned the words, "it's Tuesday!" and that set off a mixed response of excited laughter and blank stares. The excited laughter came from Pookie and I and the blank stares came from all the guys who have since been enlightened. Let me clarify something for all of you in bloggy land (except for Rachel!) who probably don't understand the implication behind those two words. For us, "It's Tuesday!" means that the Cajun Restaurant in Bangkok serves a buffet filled to the brim with Mexican food! And it also means we. are. there. pronto! I'm not kidding either... at 9:30 AM Pookie asked what time we were leaving for the restaurant:).

Our group braved the Bangkok traffic and that's no small feat, I assure you! Several times Pookie looked up and gasped as some driver suddenly slammed on their brakes or just didn't move (which is really helpful when you're on a road with cars!). We finally pulled in to the place and we were not disappointed by the fajitas, enchiladas, nachos with cheese, and french vanilla ice cream!

I suppose it was the ice cream that had us all just sitting around chatting. Or maybe it had something to do with the fact we hadn't received the bill yet:). Either way, there we sat talking. Alex, one of the newer team members, was talking about his brother Andrew's upcoming wedding in June when I asked for the colors of the wedding party.

And that's when it got interesting!

Alex managed to confuse us all by stating the men would be wearing khaki tuxes with purple shirts. None of us had ever heard of such a thing so poor Alex spent quite some time trying to describe it to us. Let's just say his explanation made it sound worse! Sometime during the "tux talk" Pookie got up and left. We assumed she went to the restroom although Bro. Tom did joke that we were sitting there so long that she probably went back through the buffet line!

Just about the time we all started looking around for the server, this lady walked up to our table and said, "Um, do you have someone in the bathroom? She needs help!" Krinny and I got up right away to go check out the situation. Our first thought was Pookie was sick (logical) since the lady said she needed "help."

HA! HA! Were we wrong!

We enter into the restroom and said, "Pookie? What's wrong?" This timid little voice from the third stall answered, "Um, hello. I can't get out."

Being the kind, compassionate friend that I am, I started laughing. Pookie has a way of getting into these scrapes, and even managed to lock our own bathroom door for about three weeks:). So Krinny and I walk over to the stall and sure enough, the handle wouldn't produce the desired effect of opening up that door. Krinny then asked the obvious: "Did you unlock the door?" After Pookie said she didn't even lock it, Krinny began to go through the options. I, on the other hand, was still laughing because the situation presented itself as quite funny!

I'm not quite sure what made me do it, but I used the handy-dandy hip that just so happened to be resting on the right side of my body and I aimed for the door. Two seconds later the door bounced off the wall and a two-inch piece of plastic fell from the door latch and rested innocently on the floor... as if it had nothing to do with poor Pookie stuck in the bathroom!

Krinny just stared at me as Pookie came out of the bathroom, very relieved to be freed from her hot prison. The story provided some wonderful comic relief as the guys joined in on the laughter. I was still chuckling to myself a few hours later!

I think it's going to be a loooong time before Pookie locks a bathroom door again! But in the mean time, it will be one of those stories that will get told again and again down the road and it'll probably start off with, "Do you remember the time we went to the Cajun Restaurant....?"

Oh, and the khaki tuxes? They didn't look too bad after all:).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Video Clips.

So you wanna know what we do for fun on Monday nights? Nat got out the video camera and took a couple of shots of us playing games... you can go here to see it! About half-way through the video, you'll hear Pookie call the tall guy with glasses "Albert" - he's actually "Alex" but Bro. Tom has a hard time remembering his name:). Also, take note that we are using paper balls (which are color-coded and the rubber bands are included for identification purpose) for our Italian-turned-Thai bocce game. And finally, I just love the fact Gracie is sitting in the middle of the room completely unfazed by the fact we are playing volleyball right over her head. Hey, when a girl's tired, she's tired!!!

Here's a clip of Alex using (are you ready for this???) a nail polish brush to do some touch-up work in Pookie's and my house! Y'all have got to go check it out... we're slave drivers over here;o).


No, I tease!


I'm just glad Nat didn't capture Pookie standing nearby with a whip in her hand.


Kidding!


Sorta:).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Why Yes, I Work In The Dairy Aisle!

I never knew the dairy aisle at Food Land could be so interesting, but I was totally proven wrong today! As I debated over shredded mozzarella cheese and block cheese (you must know it really was a debate... and the price difference was about 100 baht = $3.00), this little Thai lady bumped right into me and as I turned around her eyes lit up. At first I thought that was a little strange (can you say "awk-ward!") but then I realized she needed some, ahem, help, and was so excited over finding an English-speaking person.

Here she was looking for cottage cheese, which I finally figured out after naming all sorts of cheese ("cream??? shredded??? cheddar??? Ohh! Cottage cheese!"). Once we got that squared away, she wanted to know what you do with it. I'll admit my first instinct was to laugh and say "EAT it!" but I didn't. Instead I tried to think of ways to eat cottage cheese and the only thing I could think of was eating it with apple butter or putting it in casseroles. Not very exciting, but apparently this lady was satisfied with my answer and wanted some.

I started scanning the shelves desperately looking for "large curd" or even "small curd", which would have worked in a pinch. But alas, no cottage cheese. She went to go find someone who, you know, worked there, and they couldn't find any cottage cheese so we ladies parted ways and I went back to my debate.

I kid you not, five seconds later a Thai guy smiled broadly at me and said he needed help with buying some cheese for his friend who is from England and wants some red cheese and he didn't know what to get and could I please help him, pleaszy please?? (The pleazy part he didn't actually say but I know he was thinkin' it!) The only thing I could think of with red on it is the red wax that surrounds some cheese but he didn't like that option, so he actually called his friend and I talked to a complete stranger about cheese. Once the man on the other end said mild cheddar was fine (whew, I could handle that!), I passed the phone back and grabbed the cheddar. The Thai man looked at it with a quizzical look, but I assured him that it was what his friend wanted. He thanked me and walked away while I went back to my cheese... and ended up buying something else.

As I walked out of the dairy aisle, I noticed the Thai man in another aisle looking at some sauces.... and on the phone again. With a smile on my lips, I quickly skirted by and went to the checkout. The dairy aisle was enough for me to handle for one day!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Facing The Giants.

I'm sure some of you have heard about the movie Facing the Giants (see the preview here). I've watched it twice since coming to Thailand, the second time being Friday night (as my friend Melissa can attest to since she chatted me on IM both before and after it!). I won't ruin the storyline for those who haven't seen it, but one resounding theme is from Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, and Luke 1:37 - Nothing is impossible with God! NOTHING!!!!

As I watched the movie last night, I really let that thought sink in. Why do I walk around defeated at times??? With my God, there is nothing that will stump Him. There is nothing that presents itself as a challenge. There is nothing too big for my God!

This morning for my devotions I read about Jesus' crucifixion in Mark 15. I was struck with verse 5: "But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled." Jesus could have said something but instead chose to answer nothing. One may ask why and the answer is clear - in order to redeem all mankind, Jesus had to go to the cross. If He would have said something in His defense, Pilate might have "pardoned" Him, so to speak. But instead Jesus endured awful punishment for me, and then on top of that, promises that NOTHING will be impossible for God!!!!

Wow, that's good!

So Christian, think about that the next time you see a giant mountain staring you in the face. Before you cower in fear before the "giants," just remember that you have a sure promise from God - NOTHING is impossible with HIM!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sure Was Good!

It's been a crazy, but fun, week! The group from my church left last night (and they should arrive home in about 3 hours) but it was so enjoyable spending what time we could with them! In light of that, I figured I would share some pictures - it's been a while since I've done that:).

Pookie and Lena - a new Thai co-worker

Gracie-girl! She loves putting on shoes that belong to her brother and mom:).

The view behind my house... looks so peaceful and serene, right? I wish I had a picture of the 10-lane highway that's nearby:).

Nat, Berm, John, and Ben... John and Ben were a part of the group that left but Nat is staying another week.


Alex - another new co-worker. He'll be here until January 10th.

So I have to rat on the guys:). They came to Thailand and all ordered nice suits/shirts that were tailor-made for them... apparently it is *much* cheaper here than in the States, although I really have no idea how much a suit costs there!


Lotus flowers, incense, idolatry, emptiness - need I say more?


Don't they all look so serious??? They were coming up with a plan of attack and just about to execute it - tract distributing!

Ben, John Sr. and John Jr. at a souvenir stand.
Gracie-girl and me! I knew the picture was going to be taken but someone was making me laugh, hence the wide-eyed look!

And, of course, our nightly Dutch Blitz game:).

I really, really, really had a great time with the group being here... we all did! From the singing time during our services to the hours of laughter, we have some great memories stored! These men were able to distribute over 13,000 tracts in Chiang Mai, Bangkok and a couple more cities around Thailand and some responses have come in already!

Even though the group is gone, it will be far from boring around here! There are two people coming in next week and then a group of 20 people are coming from North Dakota in a couple of weeks.

Round two, here we come!!!